Preliminary Round 2020

Key Points

When: Tuesday 28th January 2020 (there is flexibility within 1/2 days so please contact us at if there are issues)

What: A two hour and 15 minute online test with 5 questions.

Where: In your own school, supervised by a teacher registered with AILO.

Registering: Teachers can register their school at before 12pm 24th January 2020.

How it works: Registered teachers will receive the PDF paper on Monday 27th January to have time to print it. Teachers will then receive a link to the online exam at 8am on Tuesday 28th January. The test can be completed in any 2 hour 15 minute slot from 9am to 5pm. The link won’t work another day but we can arrange links for days 1/2 days around the date.

Technical points: The Chrome browser (or Firefox) is needed for the online round. Teachers will also get a PDF answer booklet the day before in case there are technical issues on the day / not enough computers etc.

Full Details


All school and individual registrations must name a teacher on their registration. The teacher will receive the paper and online link. Please note, even if you have received regular emails on workshops / samples from us, only the teacher listed will receive the actual paper and link. Registration closes 12pm Friday 24th January 2020.

Sample Online Test

There are sample online tests available at This will give students a feel for the online round.

How the Preliminary Round Will Work

On Monday 27th January, registered teachers will receive a email from us with the AILO Preliminary Round paper in PDF. Teachers will also receive some Technical details of the online round. It is very straight-forward and the two important things are to use Chrome (or Firefox) and to make sure students save or print a copy of their answers before submission. Students will be prompted to do this by the online system. We have allocated 15 minutes extra to the online round this year to ensure students have time to print or save the answers or to write them down in an answer booklet if they need to.

Working on the Paper

Students should all receive their own printed copy of the 5-question paper. They will also need some scrap paper for working out the puzzles per usual. They can add their answers into the online answer sheet. The online answer sheet will be on one page where they answer all 5 questions. It is important they don’t go back and forth on the system as they could lose information, like any online form.

Technical Issues

On Monday 27th January, along with the PDF paper, we will send a PDF answer booklet. The answer booklet is there as a fail-safe in case there are any technical issues with computers in school or our system. We ran a successful pilot in November, so we don’t envisage issues with the online system.

Computing Resources

If there are computer resource issues in school, you may send us written answer booklets this year. We are trying to move to online with so many students now taking the preliminary round, but we don’t want to stop anyone taking part due to technical reasons. The paper round is allocated two hours. The extra 15 minutes for the online round is for printing / saving / any tech issues.

Saving Answers

We have always asked teachers to keep a photocopy of answer booklets prior to posting them to us. With the new online round, we still want to make sure everyone gets a result! Please do ensure students save a copy locally on the computer, print or write their answers into the answer booklet we send you. You don’t need to send us the answer booklet if they have submitted online. It is just something to keep answers in if there are issues saving or printing a copy of the answers before submission.